Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Ouattara Watts, OTÉ-FÊ, 2018, mixed media, 9' 1“ × 10' 5 1⁄4”.

Ouattara Watts

Galerie Cécile Fakhoury

Ouattara Watts left the Ivory Coast in 1977 to study painting at Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts before settling in New York in 1988. He has since shown regularly in Europe and the US, but until two recent concurrent exhibitions in Abidjan—“Before Looking at this Work, Listen to It,” at Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, and “Get Ready,” a survey of works dating from 2009 to 2018 at the Rotonde des Arts Contemporains—Watts had never had a solo show in his native country. Galerie Fakhoury showcased the artist’s latest work, presenting fourteen paintings from 2018—expressionistic compositions rife with references to African gods, modern art, computer coding, and cosmology—along with three older works. In the context of this show, another prominent feature of Watts’s paintings, his alternately inscrutable and universal codes, took on a new didactic function. Painted in New York and shown in Abidjan,

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